No not another ode to Yann or a post on Patrick Bauer’s potential move back to Germany, but more on the Americas Cup which continues to be the talk of the island.
Saturday saw the end of the Round Robin Americas Cup Qualifiers which meant that the French team had to exit the competition. Groupama Team France and Jose Mourinho look-a-like Franck Cammas over acheived and made a lot of friends during their stay here but after eight defeats but two suprising wins, they finished bottom of the 1st Round standings and will play no further part in the 35th Americas Cup. Although Cammas has said the team will stay and provide practice competition for the now idle Team Oracle.
Oracle topped the standings and will take an extra point through to their defence of the Americas Cup, but they were only in the round robin for practice and to show off, so it was Emirates Team New Zealand, with their unique pedal power, that topped the challengers and therefore were allowed to chose the team they wanted to meet in the Challenger Play-Off’s.
This was then announced by skipper Peter Burling in front of the other skippers at the press conference at the close of racing yesterday. Burling picked Land Rover BAR in front of a glum looking Ben Ainslie, who are simply, and I don’t know the nautical term, having a ‘mare. So much so that the Kiwi’s gladly picked Ainslie’s boat over the much less fancied Team Japan.
That means that SoftBank Team Japan play, and these are first to five, Artemis Racing from Sweden in the other semi-final.
Which is a nice segway as I got to spend the whole of yesterday with the very hospitable Artemis team courtesy of one of their major sponsors. The day involved our personal use of one of their tenders with VIP access up close to the racing as well as Artemis’ own hospitality suite with unlimited food and drink. No meatballs though I noticed.
We got the opportunity to meet the team, who were each personable, young, horribly handsome and fit as f%$#. After racing, in which they left standing the French team, we had our own personal press conference and then back on the tender we followed the race boat being taken back to the Artemis base at Morgan’s Point.
From there our group of 14 were granted access to the team’s headquarters but only after we had signed an NDA and they closed all the doors behind us. If I told you what went on behind those doors I’d have to kill you, but I can tell you that those boats are taken to pieces after racing and pored over by engineers and designers throughout the night before being put back together again. The time we spent there was both insightful and inspiring.
It was a terrific day, which ended with a lovely dinner, but one of the days highlights was being out on the water and after Artemis had beaten Groupama Team France to end their time in the contest, they sailed back amongst the spectator boats to standing ovations, and we too stood and collectively joined in. So very boaty, so very British I thought.